Tuesday Top Ten-Favorite Romance Movies

Happy Tuesday everyone! Hope you all are having great weeks so far. I know that there are many of you gearing up for San Diego Comic Con this weekend (so jealous!) and I am so excited for you guys. My best friend is getting MARRIED this Friday, sale which is just too crazy to even believe, doctor and I am so excited! I am in the wedding too, doctor along with my boyfriend, so it should be a seriously fun time!

And since there is so much romance in the air this week, at least for me, I decided to make this week’s Tuesday Top Ten with a little bit of romance. That and my dad said he’s tired of all the book top tens haha!

So here it is: my ten personal favorite movies with the best romances in them!

10. Dirty Dancing

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Come on! “Nobody puts Baby in the Corner”! One of my absolute favorite lines EVER. Francis, also known as “Baby”, goes to a swanky little country club type resort, where she runs into the bad boy with a heart of gold, Johnny. When Johnny’s dancing partner is under the weather (an illegal abortion), Baby steps in to take her place and summer love ensues, despite the differences in social classes. Its so cheesy, and ridiculous and one of those movies that gets over played over the years but I can’t…I love the dancing and the silliness of Jennifer Grey and the sexiness of Patrick Swayze, and the whole story of it. I am addicted to those kind of movies with music and dancing, and this has both of them. You really don’t get better than that.

9. Pride and Prejudice

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Pride and Prejudice is one of the BEST romantic books ever to exist in the history of literature so it would only make sense that it would be one of my favorite movies. I know most people would mention the Colin Firth adaptation of the movie, and while I definitely enjoy that one, I was thoroughly impressed by the Keira Knightley one. I have watched that one so much, I could probably quote it, and I really enjoyed that they quote the book quite often at times. I think Keira makes a really good Elizabeth Bennet and the guy who plays Mr. Darcy whose name escapes me at this time is so hot and believable as Mr. Darcy. The story of two people who absolutely loathe each other falling in love is just so addicting and you’re cheering and blushing and jumping up and down when they both finally realize and they have that moment where you just know they are going to live happily ever after. The character of Mr. Darcy is especially my favorite too because he accepts his attractive WAY before Lizzie and you just watch him struggle with it, and agh, its just so GOOD.

8. Titanic

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I don’t care what anyone says, I know this movie is cheesy and dramatic but it has been one of my favorite movies since I first saw it when I was 9 years old. One, I’ve always been ridiculously obsessed with the Titanic. I know, that’s kind of a morbid obsession to have but its true. I read every book, every article, watched movies and documentaries and all of that. I was obsessed with it. I wanted to write a novel set on the Titanic for a long time but I felt like I was just writing a rewrite of this movie. Granted I was thirteen when I was attempting this. I really wanted to try again but we’ll see. I do love the love story of the movie, rich and unattainable Rose, wanting to break out of her restrictive world, falling in love with the exciting but poor, Jack. You don’t get any cheesier than that. But I love the background of the Titanic and the history that they weaved into it. Of course, a lot of the history is exaggerated and embellished but still. I love this movie. I will watch it every time it comes on TV, even if it takes me five hours.

7. Sixteen Candles

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You know what I remember every time I think of this movie? I think of me and my parents getting in trouble because we watched this movie at my very first sleepover, when I was ten years old, and apparently it was rated R and yeah, my friends’ parents were all so pissed off. I don’t even know; apparently its Rated R because whats-her-face is naked in the beginning of the movie, in the locker room. Whatever. Anyway, this is the best teen movie ever made, and I loved that Jake Ryan (oh Jake Ryan) is totally smitten with dorky but super pretty Samantha Baker. The hilarity that ensues and the amount of actors in that movie that go on to do bigger things like Joan and John Cusack and Anthony Michael Hall, its just all great. I love that they are so many one-liners in that movie. I quoted this movie on a daily basis when I was about sixteen years old and it still remains one of my favorites :)

6. The Princess Bride

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The funniest, romantic movie that I have ever watched in my life. I watched this movie when I was a kid and it still remains a favorite. I finally got it on Blu-Ray this past Christmas (thanks dad!) and I’ve watched it so many times. This is actually, also, one of those few instances where I’ll say that the movie was better than book. I know, I know. The book WAS great, I’m not going to lie but this movie is just such a classic. I love the ridiculous fantasy element of it, and the hilarity of it, and all the actors that are in it. I like it because its a beautiful romance story but with the added awesome of humor, and action and all of that. Its a great movie for kids. Its got that fairy tale, the one we are all so familiar with because of Cinderella and Snow White or whatever, but with a twist. This is also a movie I tend to quote a ridiculous amount of times.

5. The Apartment

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I LOVE this movie. I watched this movie for the first time with Jon and it took us MONTHS to do it. We would always start watching it really late at night, and its a fairly long movie, and we’d always fall asleep. Not to say that its a boring movie, because it DEFINITELY is not. Its sweet, funny, and one of those romances that’s all about the build up. You don’t need overly sweet lines and over-the-top make out scenes to create a romance. The simple exchanges between John Lemmon as Baxter and Shirley MacClaine as Fran creates the brilliant romance between them, especially when Fran is staying in Baxter’s infamous apartment. The ridiculousness of all the managers taking their mistresses to Baxter’s apartment, and the way he really wins in the end, its so beautiful. Its such a classic and awesome movie. It won five Oscars for a reason, for many reasons. And Shirley MacClaine was such a beautiful woman, and a talented actress and John Lemmon was a comedic genius. Sigh.

4. Wall.E

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This is one of the most beautiful love stories that I have ever seen in a movie and its between two robots that barely say anything else besides their own names. Wall.E and EVE are ROBOTS for goodness sake, and yeah the movie is ultimately about the earth, and not abandoning it and taking care of it, and it does get a little preachy but I love that. But in between all that, is the beautiful love story of two robots, two very different robots who band together on a single mission and as this goes on, they fall in love. Its just such a beautiful thing. I think the simplicity of it is what makes me love it so much. And sure, the fact that its a movie my boyfriend and I both enjoy thoroughly does have something to do with it. We had been together…five months and he had come home from a tour with his band, and he was so incredibly tired, but he really wanted to see this movie with me. And we’ve seen every Pixar movie (excluding Cars 2) on the day its come out, as a tradition. So it sort of has an outside romantic connection as well.

3. Howl’s Moving Castle

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Before Howl’s Moving Castle, my experience with anime was very limited to basically Pokemon. My sister loved it, and I kind of scoffed at it. But for my sister’s 8th grade graduation, I believe, in 2005, I went with her and my mom to go see this movie in the theaters and I was blown away by this truly amazing movie. I basically went home and ate up all of the Studio Ghibli movies, which are all so fantastic. And my quiet love for anime grew from there. But Howl’s Moving Castle…its not just one of my favorite romance movies, or my favorite animated movies, its one of my favorite MOVIES, period, of all time. I love the fantasy aspect of it, with the moving castle and the wizards and different airships and all that. I love the simple romance of it, between Howl and Sophie, the build up of it, to the moment when they finally can admit it to each other and to themselves. Its such a beautiful story, and such a beautiful movie. Hayao Miyazaki makes amazing movies. When I first showed this to my boyfriend, I was so afraid of him not liking it but he loves it and it is another movie that I am so happy we get to enjoy together. Also Christian Bale as Howl? Josh Hutcherson as Markl? My nerd heart loves it.

2. Up

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I know, technically this is NOT a romance movie, since most of the movie is about the adventure that Carl and Russell have together to get the house to Paradise Falls. But I consider it in my top ten because this movie told one of the most beautiful, most heartwarming and heartbreaking love stories in a matter of minutes. The “Married Life” scene in the beginning of the movie, where you see Carl and Ellie meet for the first time, and become friends, and then marry and live their life together? I’m getting teary eyed just THINKING about it. Its exactly what a love story SHOULD be. Its exactly how a life with someone you love should be. It should be about this lasting love, a friendship that is strong, where you’re able to go on adventures, but also do simple things like clean the house and read together and still be so incredibly happy. Carl spends so much time in regret for not giving Ellie the adventures that she’s always wanted but in the end, her life with him was the best adventure she could have. How does that not make you tear up? That is just too beautiful for words and its the reason its one of my favorite movies, the reason that Jon and I have seen it so many times that we could quote it on a daily basis (and do!) and why its so high on this list.

1. Gone with the Wind

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I can’t even remember how old I was when I first watched this movie but it is such an important part of my childhood. My mom is a huge fan of the book and the movie, as well as her two sisters, and it was a huge part of my life. I first read the book when I was thirteen years old, all 1000+ pages, which was a hefty read for a girl that young. But I remember this movie, and continue to as one of the best love stories ever told because it is a love story that goes so terribly wrong, and gets so insanely messed up and isn’t that the truth? Scarlett O’Hara knows what she wants but what she wants is what is so precisely wrong for her. The man that was made for her, that will love her for her strengths and her flaws, for her attitude and her selfishness and her ambition and determination is Rhett Butler and she screws it up so badly. She makes all the wrong decisions and all the wrong moves and in the end, she is left alone, without the man she loves, because she has realized it way too late. She is heartbroken and you are heartbroken and you’re grabbing a pint of Cherry Garcia and you want to hand it through the television to Scarlett with a box of tissues while you yell at her, through your sobbing, for being so incredibly stupid and blind. It is also one of the most amazing movies ever made and remains the highest grossing movie of all time, when adjusted for inflation.

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I hope you all enjoyed this week’s edition of the Tuesday Top Ten and don’t forget to check out previous lists!

Don’t forget to enter my Tammara Webber giveaway!

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I’d also like to say a HUGE congratulations to my best friend, Allison Holley, and her husband (on Friday!) Aaron Lane. I am so incredibly happy for you guys. Its been an up and down journey, a long journey but you guys have made it this far and you will continue to make it because you guys love each other, and you are best friends, and you have a wonderful relationship. I can’t wait to stand next to you two on Friday when you say your vows :) I love you guys!

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Exclusive Interview with Author Tammara Webber!

Today I am here to introduce you to one of my absolute favorite contemporary young adult/new adult authors, more about Tammara Webber.

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I first discovered Tammara Webber about a year ago when I was looking for something new to read on my Kindle and I needed something that was a little cheaper. Tammara’s book, price Between the Lines, sildenafil popped up and I was intrigued by it. It was only a couple dollars (and remains so, and the paperback is only 8.99) and so I decided to check it out.

I was sold SO fast. It tells the story of Emma Pierce, an aspiring actress, who lands a part in a major motion picture with the hot, and super famous, Reid Alexander. I am obsessed with that kind of pop culture, celebrity type of life (I even wrote a novel about it) and so it caught me SO fast. And Reid…Reid makes you fall in love with him so fast.

I consumed the next two novels, Where You Are and Good For You, in a matter of days. They are great books. Then when Tammara’s standalone novel, Easy, was released, I read that as well. Another seriously fantastic novel, Easy has been recognized all over the place for its merit.

Then I started to learn more about Tammara and I felt so inspired about the fact that she had self-published the Between the Lines series and that she had worked her butt off to get where she is now. For a struggling writer who often times doesn’t really see the white picket fence that is publishing a novel, she is a serious inspiration.

She is also what people have started to call “New Adult” literature, which is basically a way of saying, mature young adult lit. Young adult literature that may have more bad words, or (more likely) have more sex in them, and blatant sex, not just suggested sex. In my words, more realistic young adult fiction, because if you think teens aren’t cussing and having sex…well, you poor, naive thing.

Okay, I’m getting ahead of myself. The point is, I read Between the Lines, and noticed the difference in maturity and I liked it because I tend to write like that. My young adult characters say bad words and they have sex, and I’ve noticed a lot of YA doesn’t do that, or if they do, its only hinted at. I was so impressed by Tammara‘s books because of this, and it was like a little lightbulb over my head, ” I CAN write like this for teenagers!”

She remains one of my absolute favorite authors, and when she announced that there would be a fourth and final Between the Lines book, titled Here Without You, I was beside myself with excitement. Its hitting the ebook world on August 6th and the paperback version will be out on August 27th.

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Now I’ve had the LUCKY opportunity to interview her and share this awesome interview with all of you :)

Enjoy!

Sara: What can you tell us about the next Between the Lines book? Is this story told from a new point of view, or are we going to be seeing Reid Alexander, Emma Pierce, or any of those characters again?

Tammara: Here Without You is in alternating POVs – Reid, Dori, Brooke and one additional (new) character.

Sara: Where did you get the idea for the Between the Lines series?

Tammara: My oldest son was attending NYU (Tisch School of the Arts), when the Twilight films were being made. Several of the stars were in his age range, and he’s wanted to be an actor since he was 10. I began to wonder how he would handle crazed fan involvement in his life and relationships, at an age when he was still defining himself. It made me feel sorry for those actors, and the story started coming to me after that.

Sara: Where do you get your inspiration for your novels?

Tammara: All over the place – usually taking real life events out of their original context (sometimes from my life, but more often from friends, acquaintances, or news reports), wondering about them, taking them a step further or in a different direction.

Sara: What do you think of the term “new adult”? Do you like or dislike it? Do you feel like it helps or hinders your books?

Tammara: I wasn’t fond of the term when I first heard it coined by St. Martin’s in 2009. Now it’s just a term, and I’m used to it. I think it’s too early to tell what NA will turn out to be, especially since it appears that it will continue to be filed under Adult Romance. I wrote the BTL series and Easy with Young Adult audiences in mind. It’s not so much that “NA” hinders my books as the fact that they aren’t quite cutting edge when filed under NA – because NA is adult literature, but I wrote these books as YA. I’m not incapable of adjusting, however – and if my books are going to be called NA and filed under Romance instead of YA, then I need to write to that market if I expect to make a living as a writer.

Sara: What advice to give to aspiring authors? You self-published the Between the Lines series, so what advice to you have for authors who are considering self-publishing their novels?

Tammara: I don’t recommend anyone choose one or the other path, especially since lately, the literary landscape is shifting like crazy. I honestly have little idea of the difficulties facing new self-pubbed authors at the moment, or whether it’s now easier or more difficult for them to thrive. My main advice is do your homework. Read blogs of successful authors – but please don’t write to them and say, “How’d you do it?” If they want to tell you, they’ll tell you (and the hundreds of others who write with the same questions) in posts or FAQs on their websites. Some are super informative and blatantly honest. Find those – that’s what I did. Pay attention to what appears to work and what doesn’t. Don’t assume that because something worked for someone a year ago, it will work now (or vice-versa!). There are many more players in the market now.

Sara: Is this the last book that we will see in the Between the Lines series? What other projects/books do you have planned for the future?

Tammara: Yes, this is the last official BTL novel. I’m working on edits for it now (it will be self-published in the US, but published by Penguin Razorbill in the UK), and also starting to write Lucas’s story. I promised before I even published Easy that it would be a stand-alone novel, and that’s not going to change. I wrote the book to bring awareness to the issue of acquaintance rape, and books with sequels are simply less accessible to readers. I want Easy to remain accessible, so no sequel.

That said, Lucas was one of the most difficult characters I’ve written, because he’s just so secretive and introspective – even with me – which is why Easy was written in Jacqueline’s POV only. I never heard his voice while writing it. I had a typical novelist’s omnipotence going on, of course, but sometimes he did or said things and I wasn’t sure why. Unlike Reid or even Graham in the BTL series, I saw Lucas almost entirely from the heroine’s point of view. It wasn’t until recently that he began talking to me, at which point I realized that he was ready to tell his story.

Sara: What are some of your favorite books/authors to read? What are some authors that inspire you when you are writing?

Tammara: I read a lot of YA. Oddly, I haven’t read a lot of NA yet – except the NA that is sitting on YA shelves – and there is some (ex: Gayle Forman). I love Jennifer Echols. I enjoy a lot of fantasy, paranormal and dystopian YA (Cassandra Clare, Ann Aguirre, Maggie Stiefvater, Melissa Marr), though I wouldn’t read any of those genres in adult literature. I have no idea why that is; possibly YA novels are generally more hopeful, at least at the end.

Sara: Did you always want to be a writer, or did you have other career aspirations? What are some of the jobs you’ve done in the past?

Tammara: I’ve always wanted to write and I’ve always written, though it took me a while to give in to the notion of actually completing a novel. I don’t know if I’d call anything else a “career aspiration” so much as “a way to pay the bills.” I’ve done everything – waitressing, retail, clerical work, working at a tan salon, taking calls in a night-time radiology call center. The closest I came to feeling like I had a career  was when I was an undergraduate academic advisor – which is what I was doing when I began writing Between the Lines.

Sara: What are some of your favorite things to do in your spare time, besides reading or writing?

Tammara: Spare time?  I watch very little television (Walking Dead, Vampire Diaries and New Girl are it over the past year or two. I like movies, but don’t get to go often enough. If I’m out with friends or my husband, I prefer dinner and conversation to entertainment. I LOVE to read, so when I have time off (or need time off) from writing, that’s usually what I’m doing. My husband loves to read, too, so we’re often sitting together reading (or he’s playing some disgusting video game and I’m reading and trying to ignore the death throes on the screen).

Sara: What is the hardest part of being a writer? What is the BEST part of being a writer?

Tammara: Starting a book is easy. Continuing is hard, especially when I get blocked, which usually occurs at forks in the road, especially if I’m dealing with multiple characters. There’s also a point somewhere in the middle of every book where I loathe everything I’ve written. I see no possible way to finish. I can’t imagine why I think I can write at all, and I want to smash my computer and run away from home. That’s the worst. (I’ve learned to anticipate this now, so I’m not destroyed by it – but it’s still disconcerting.) Next to that is the not-writing business part of writing – whether you’re indie or traditional (I’ve done both now so I know!) is so time-consuming and sometimes just mind-numbing. Sometimes I open a blog post, write gibberish, delete it and sign out. Emails and posts and tweets pile up quickly and become overwhelming. I’ve had times when I was sick, or one of my kids needed me – or just life happened – and when I get back to my computer, it takes me hours or days to catch up, when I really just want to write.

The best part is simple. I get to tell stories for a living. I have to pinch myself occasionally, because I just never thought this would be my life.

Sara: What is the strangest thing a fan has said to you, or given to you? Do you have any funny fan stories?

Tammara: I probably shouldn’t reveal these, lol; those people tend to stalk and read everything. (*nervously looking around*) I love and appreciate my readers, and all their quirks. I’m a quirky, introverted reader… and so are many of the people who read my books! Most of the time, we get each other.

Sara: I ask this question to every person that I interview: Who is your favorite fictional crush?

Tammara: My forever crush is Darcy from Pride and Prejudice. But my strongest current crush is Jace. So many reasons. I recently read the Mortal Instruments series, one after the other, and I am so ready for the next book, and the first film, which has to have the best casting on a YA film series since HP. SO pleased with their choices for everyone. (Please be good please be good please be good.) Here’s the weird part, though: While reading about Jace, I could not stop thinking about my BTL character Reid, because Reid’s an actor, they sound physically alike, and their demeanors are so similar. I kept thinking, Reid could play this guy. Which is CRAZY… because Reid is just as fictional, for pete’s sake. But those cocky, sarcastic, literary Bad Boys remind me of my RL crush – who is my husband. Luckily.

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Can I just that Tammara‘s love for The Mortal Instruments, and the fact that she thought of Reid Alexander as Jace Wayland is just the cherry on top of an already awesome sundae that is Tammara Webber? I TOTALLY thought of Reid too, despite the fact that he is completely fictional.

I love that he is her fictional crush too, because he is totally mine, and I totally like those cocky, sarcastic bad boys because that’s exactly my boyfriend.

And you guys all know how I am about The Mortal Instruments and Jace Wayland (see: TMI tattoo, fave fictional crush, how many times I’ve met Cassandra Clare…)

Anyway, I really hope you all enjoyed getting to know Tammara a little bit more today and I hope those of you who have NOT checked her out, will do so :) You will LOVE her books, I promise you that.

And much thanks to Tammara Webber for doing this awesome interview. You can visit her website here, and can purchase her books here.

Check out past interviews with authors like Cassandra Clare, Jessica Brody and Eoin Colfer here.

Meg Cabot: This is Teen Live Chat Transcript!

I love Meg Cabot. She is easily one of my favorite authors and is definitely the author that got me so into and supportive and passionate about young adult literature. I eagerly wait each and every book that she puts out. This summer she is putting out the third installment of her YA paranormal romance Abandon trilogy, see Awaken, store and the fifth book in her Heather Wells series (adult romance contemporary), mind The Bride Wore Size 12.

She had a live chat tonight on Facebook with This is Teen and she answered a TON of questions. I know that not everyone gets to be a part of these so I wrote out the entire conversation so everyone could see the questions that she answered!

Check it out!

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Live Chat:

Moderator: We had some great questions from Twitter, here’s one: “Do you ever experiene writer’s block and how do you deal with it?

Meg: Of course! I take a break and do something else, like take a walk or ride my bike. Or even watch TV. But the best thing to do is just put the project on the back burner for a while and do something else. It will come to you!

Fan: Ms. Cabot, I love your work. How did you get started in the industry?

Meg Cabot: Hi Wendy! I actually got my start writing historical romances under another name. It took many years and rejection before I got published. But I just kept trying! Don’t ever let rejection keep you from doing the things you love.

Fan: What was the inspiration for your book “Abandon”?

Meg: I love the Greek myth of Persephone and Hades. I love the idea of there being a place and a person for everyone even if it’s the Underworld and the hope of spring time.

Moderator: Let’s get another Twitter question! Jennifer writes “What are you working on next. Any new upcoming YA series?”

Meg: “Awaken” will be out in July and then there will be a new Heather Wells book, “The Bride Wore Size 12” on September 10th. After that, stay tuned.

Fan: The Abandon series is based on the myth of Persephone. Is it easier or harder to write a series based on existing material?

Meg: That’s a good question! In some ways it’s easier because the characters and storyline are somewhat established. But you also want to make it your own. So in that way, its more of a challenge.

Fan: What are you reading now?

Meg: I read Gorgeous by Paul Rudnick and really enjoyed it! I’ve been reading the new John Le Carre. Good stuff!

Fan: Ms Cabot. Do you get nervous when you publish a book?

Meg: Well, I’ve been doing it for a long time but, yes, I still get nervous and I hope people like it!

Fan: Who is your favorite love interest out of all the books you’ve written?

Meg: Its hard to pick! I really like the ones I’ve just written about. So, right now, I really like John Hayden from “Awaken”. He looks so good on the cover. One of the best days was when I got to pick the model to play him!

Fan: When you come up with a new idea, how do you begin to craft it into a story? Do you outline, or just jump in?

Meg: When I get an idea for a book, I usually do write up a brief story synopsis. Then I start to write. For inspiration, I make up a music playlist.

Fan: My daughter and I love your Ally Finkle series! Any plans for another book in the series?

Meg: Thank you! Allie Finkle was inspired by my experience in 4th and 5th grade and all my real life friends. We’ll have to see if there will be more adventures. I sure hope so!

Fan: What is your favorite part about writing the Abandon Trilogy?

Meg: I love writing about Pierce and John and the growth of their relationship. I also enjoyed writing the dramatic setting of the tropical island versus the Underworld!

Fan: Do you have plans do visit Brazil one more time? We miss you!

Meg: Obrigada! I love Brazil! I look forward to my new novella, “The Model and the Monster” in the Princess anthology that will be coming out in the end of June for Brazilian readers only! And hopefully I will be visiting there soon!

Fan: Could you give advice for the teens out there since we think you’re the writer who understands girl’s hearts?

Meg: Awww, thanks Claire! I think its important to remember that you are very special and never let anyone treat you any other way. Always have pride in yourself and remember that everything is going to be all right!

Fan: How long does it usually take for you to write a book? Have some of your books been easier to write than others? 

Meg: It can take as long as a year or two or as short as a few months. It depends on the book and sometimes there are many revisions that have to be done. But revisions are very important as you want the book to be the best it can be for your readers!

Fan: If you could put one of your characters from one book into another book (like putting Em Watts in Abandon or Allie Finkle in Princess Diaries or Mia in Airheads), who would it be and why would they be there?

Meg: That’s a great question! There may be a crossover in a future book that’s coming out soon…you have to wait and see!

Fan: Hello Meg! So happy to be chatting with you! My daughter loves your books and is an aspiring writing. She is in the 6th grade. What advice would you give a young writer.

Meg: Great chatting with you, too! I think an aspiring writer should read every day; write a little something every day even if it’s just an email. Write what you love to read and don’t let rejection get you down! It took me years to get published but it was worth the wait.

Fan: It seems like you had to spend a lot of time in the Underworld writing the Abandon books, did that change how you see OUR world?

Meg: LOL! Yes! In the Underworld, the Fates serve meals magically to the permanent inhabitants and I kept wishing someone would do that for me during the writing process…although I have to say my husband is a very good chef!

Fan: How’s the new book from the Mediator series coming? Also I love your books. 

Meg: Thank you! It is coming along nicely. I definitely appreciate all of the support from the readers and having the series be optioned by FremantleMedia has helped with the inspiration as well.

(There is going to be a new Mediator book! OH my god, I didn’t know this but its my FAVORITE series by her so I am so excited!)

Fan: What is your favorite love story?

Meg: That’s a hard one! I have to say I love Lizzie Bennett and Mr. Darcy! And Ron and Hermione, of course! They are so cute. I do love them!

(Two of my favorites as well!)

Fan: What is your inspiration for The Princess Diaries?

Meg: The inspiration for The Princess Diaries came from my mom dating one of my teachers. It was so gross! But now they have been together a long time and I’m very happy for them. But I did write about it in my diary. And that story became the inspiration for The Princess Diaries. This is why I encourage everyone to keep a diary. You never know what can happen!

Fan: How many hours a day/days per week do you write?

Meg: I try to keep a regular schedule, like a 9-5 job. But it never works. It’s usually more like 11-11, right before the book is due :)

Fan: Talking about food, whats your favorite thing to eat? What are you good at cooking?

Meg: I’m good at making popcorn! My husband is a very good chef. He went to cooking school. Thank goodness! I love pizza but I have to be gluten-free because I have Celiac disease.

(Is it just me or is everyone getting this disease nowadays…I swear, everyone is gluten-free…)

Moderator: Here’s another question from Twitter, Tema asks “Which book are you the most proud of so far?” 

Meg: Like a good mom, I love all my children the same :) But I always am especially proud of the newborns, like “Awaken”!

Fan: What is the most strange gift that you have ever received?

Meg: I received a life-size papier mache Fat Louie. That was quite odd. But I loved it and still have it!

Fan: Who is your favorite Sesame Street character?

Meg: I love Big Bird, of course!

Fan: Did you ever have a mentor or an idol that inspired you?

Meg: Yes! I had so many great teachers who were so encouraging of my writing, especially my 4th and 5th grade teachers, Mrs. Hunter who is featured in the Allie Finkle books. I didn’t even change her name! I also had a great school librarian who encouraged me to branch out in my reading.

Fan: Did you ever get to meet an author you admire?

Meg: Of course! I got to meet many authors that I love but I was always too shy to go up and talk to them. Even now, I get very tongue-tied around authors I admire. Don’t be like me! If you meet an author you love, tell him or her how much you like his or her books!

Sara (ME!): Meg! I ask all the authors I meet/talk to: Who is your favorite fictional crush?

Meg: Spenser, as in the detective by Robert B. Parker. I love him! I want him to be my boyfriend but he’s taken. But so am I :)

Fan: You mentioned a playlist before. What kind of music do you like? Who are your favorite bands or singers?

Meg: The problem with playlists inspired by books is that the book chooses the playlist. I like all kinds of music. When I wrote “Awaken”, I listened to the Black Keys, The New Radicals, Owl City, and much much more.

Fan: If there was ever a Princess Diaries TV show, who would be your ideal Mia?

Meg: I will never pick actors for a show or movie because if someone else gets cast later, their feelings might be hurt :( That’s actually happened. So I like to keep my opinion to myself so no one will feel that they were ever a second choice!

Fan: Love, love, love so many of your books. Thank you for becoming a writer :D What do you do when your procrastinate (instead of writing)?

Meg: Thank you so much! I love to swim, lay on the beach, read mysteries, watch TV, go to the movies, eat–all the regular stuff that a lot of people like to do :)

Fan: I love how you write some of your books in the non-traditional format of diaries/emails/etc. They’re so much fun to read! What gave you that idea? Do you feel like it fits better with certain characters/stories?

Meg: Thank you! I love epistolary novels. I especially loved the book “Up the Down Staircase” and I wanted to try writing something like that using modern technology. I would love to try to do some more but it does depend on the story. Hopefully I’ll do another one someday.

Fan: You have written a lot of stories for short story collections. Are they just as hard to write as a whole novel or are they easier because they’re shorter?

Meg: Short stories are even harder to write for me than the novels. You have to be so concise and you have such a short page count. It’s very hard for me but I love the challenge! And usually the proceeds go to charity so it’s totally worthwhile!

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They also released the FIRST THREE CHAPTERS  of the last book in the Abandon Trilogy, Awaken, which is out July 2nd! 

You can check those out here.

Thanks Meg for chatting with all your fans, and answering our questions. I can’t wait to read Awaken and The Bride Wore Size 12 this summer!

The Lizzie Bennet Diaries…Also Known as My New Addiction!

For those of you who are already Lizzie Bennet fans, health and have not yet reached the episode where they reveal Darcy, illness I will warn you, I reveal who Darcy is later in this post. So if you’d like to be surprised, don’t read any further than this. You’ve been warned, fangirls!

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I should start pleading with people to stop introducing me to things…seriously. Ever since I joined The Los Angeles Dumbledore’s Army in October 2011, my group of nerd friends has increased by…well, 100% because I really didn’t have a lot of nerdy friends before that.

And one of the best parts of being in this group is sharing the things you love with each other, especially those that they may not have discovered yet. I love sharing Tamora Pierce love and Cassandra Clare love and all that. I get all happy when I hear they tried it and loved it.

But it also works vice versa. They tell me about things: books, TV shows, movies, etc. And I get addicted.

As if I didn’t have enough to obsess over!

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So a few weeks ago while I was away at Gallifrey One, my friend Erin told me about The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, an online vlog telling the modern day (fictional) story of Pride and Prejudice. She showed me the very first episode and I thought it was funny and cute but I didn’t really think much about it. I remember my friend Deb telling me that I would probably enjoy it and I catalogued it in my long list of things to read and watch (that list is too long to even contemplate…).

Well, a couple of days ago, my friend, Ana, who was at Gallifrey One with us, asked me if I had watched it yet because it was so good and she was blasting through episodes. Deb and Erin jumped in on the conversation and sounded really excited. And you know me, I hate to be left out of something that gets a fangirl reaction from others. I had to get on this.

I first read Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen when I was about 10 or 11 years old. I remember loving the book so much, and I’m pretty sure I didn’t really understand more than half of the book. I mean, I’m sure I understand the love story, but there is SO much more to the novel besides that, and as I reread the book over the years (and reread and reread…), I discovered more and more about the book and learned more and more about the book, and it still remains one of my favorite books. I love the story, I love Jane Austen. I think so many people see of it as a romance novel, but there is so much more there besides the romance between Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy. I seriously encourage every single one of you to get out there and read that book. Because it is one of those novels that doesn’t have copyrights, it’s available for free download on Amazon here. So no excuses.

So I jumped on this Lizzie Bennet bandwagon.

And holy addicting vlog series Batman. This is the most amazing thing ever! I blew through all 94 current episodes in a couple days. I probably could’ve watch them all in one day, if you know, homework hadn’t gotten in the way.

The Lizzie Bennet Diaries is basically this: a modern adaptation of Pride and Prejudice shown in the form of video diaries, recorded by the main character, Lizzie Bennet. She lives with her marriage obsessed mother, her quiet, her fashion obsessed and super sweet sister, Jane, and her younger hyperactive handful sister, Lydia. She’s a graduate student in mass communications, making these videos with her best friend, Charlotte Lu. The neighborhood explodes with rich medical student, Bing Lee, moves in, with his sister Caroline Lee and his best friend, William Darcy.

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(Clockwise starting in the left top corner: Maria Lu, Fitz William, Lydia Bennet, Lizzie Bennet, Jane Bennet, Charlotte Lu, George Wickham, Mary Bennet, Bing Lee, Caroline Lee, and Ricky Collins)

Sound familiar in the slightest? Oh yeah, Pride and Prejudice in 2012. Its amazing.

Of course, we are missing Kitty and Mary Bennet, but don’t worry they make appearances and in unexpected places.

Now these videos are the brain chain of Hank Green and Bernie Su, who are just two of the many people who make this awesome show possible. And yes, THE Hank Green, younger brother to young adult lit god, John Green, and the other half of the Vlogbrothers. If you don’t know what the Vlogbrothers are, please god go educate yourself! NOW! :D

The thing that I really like about this adapation is just the hilarity of it all, and how it really shows the depth of the characters and the reality of them all. For some people, its hard to understand the characters through Jane Austen’s writing style because it is unfamiliar to the writing we know today. However, in this adaptation, you really see the characters. You get a real sense of Jane’s kindness and her inability to say bad things about anyone. You really see Lydia’s irresponsibilty and her tendency to not take things seriously. You also see the frustrations of Charlotte as well. The thing that I liked the most though was the way you see Lizzie…she complains about everyone so much, has an opinion on everything and can be so judgemental…hence the “prejudice” part of the title. This is exactly how Elizabeth truly is in the novel, but I think sometimes you miss it because you’re so focused on the actions of Mr. Darcy. In this vlog adaptation, however, you really get to see that character flaw captured in Ashley Clement’s portrayal of Lizzie Bennet.

I also liked the direction that they went with these characters. Sure, you still have the marriage obsessed Mrs. Bennet but this is 2012/13. You can’t have the entire series based on marriage. Instead, it focuses very much on idea of the modern, career-driven, ambitious woman. Jane is in the fashion industry, Charlotte and Lizzie are both graduate students, Gigi Darcy is an employee for her brother’s company, Pemberley Digital, Lydia (mostly) works her butt off at community college. These women go through the same to similar romantic entanglements in the novel, but in very modern ways. Without spoiling too much, I really liked how they changed the Lizzie-Mr. Collins-Charlotte triangle from one of marriage and commitment to one of more modern, work-related circumstances.

Plus…the costume theater. Oh god, the costume theater is amazing. The story is mainly told by Lizzie Bennet, though people are constantly walking in on her and joining her videos. Occasionally, you get a video diary by Lydia, a couple random videos by Charlotte and Jane, Gigi Darcy along the way but mostly its Lizzie. But in order to make sure you get the story completely (or as complete as it is in her eyes), she has costumes that she wears for various people in her life, and she’ll put on a little reenactment of a recent event in her life. Its hilarious, especially when she impersonates her mom (below)…oh, god, the amount of actual laughs that this got out of me was great.

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I also really like the changes they made to some of the characters. I like that they kind of cut Kitty Bennet, because in the novel, she was just Lydia’s shadow. I love the changes they did with Mary Bennet; she’s honestly one of my favorite characters in the video series. I also think I have a little crush on Briana Cuoco, who plays her. I also really like Fitz Williams, Darcy’s friend, who is given a larger role and also the role of Gigi Darcy, both pictured below. Fitz lends some serious hilarity to the films and Gigi captures the sweetness and little sister-ness of Georgiana from the original story.

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But the thing that I love the most about it is…its one of my absolute favorite stories of all time told in such a fun and modern way. The episodes aren’t too long, an average of 5 to 10 minutes and each one leaves you wanting more. So far, they are up to episode 95 with only a handful left, as you can imagine, the story is nearly wrapped up.

And let me tell you, not seeing Darcy until episode 60? HORRIBLE! I am a Mr Darcy lover. Yes, Mr Darcy can be a total jerk but I still adore him and he was one of the greatest romantic heroes in literature. And when Darcy did eventually appear…well, I wasn’t disappointed. Meet Daniel Vincent Gordh, a.k.a. William Darcy.

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He is super good looking…and he just captures the essence of Mr. Darcy. And they made Mr. Darcy such a hipster. He’s always going around in ties, bowties, suspenders, little scarfs and geeky glasses. I couldn’t stop laughing every time he shows up in a different outfit, especially the cardigan and bow tie look. Too adorable. He kind of reminds me of Ed Westwick as Chuck Bass in Gossip Girl. I was most definitely not disappointed…and you really believe him as Mr. Darcy. I count the minutes until he reappears on screen.

Like I said, the story is great…its the story we know and love but in a world where women are a lot stronger and have way more freedom than they did in the time of Elizabeth Bennett. It captures the beauty and values and soul of the original story while keeping it fresh for new eyes. I seriously love it; I blew through all the current episodes as fast as I could and I really recommend you watch it!

I also recommend watching it on the actual website: lizziebennet.com. There you get the videos down by Lydia, Charlotte, Gigi, and other characters. You also get the Twitter conversations between characters as well and all of these lend more to the story than just the Lizzie episodes. I did it that way, and its awesome. You really get the full story, as much as possible, and its enjoyable and really a unique way to tell the story.

And for those of you who are a bit intrigued, check out the first episode, which I have cleverly inserted into this blog post. You’re welcome :D

Hope that you enjoy and that you become as addicted as I did!

New videos are uploaded Mondays and Thursdays at 9 am!

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Top Ten Valentine’s Day Crushes

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!

I have some things to say today, pharm on this day of love. One, order tell everyone you love that you love them. You should be doing this every day, not just on Valentine’s Day but you should do it today anyway. And two, if you’re single, honestly, hush up. Valentine’s Day isn’t just about relationship or romantic love. Its about friendship love and family love too. I always make sure to tell my friends that I love them to today and my family as well. My mom always makes me a little thing of cookies and candy and I always get a box of Sweethearts (the good ones, not the gross chalky ones) from my Dad, guaranteed.

I just hate when single people cry on this day. And maybe some people will get all uppity because I’m not single so I don’t know what I’m talking about. You’re talking to a girl who was dumped three times on Valentine’s Day; trust me, I can understand the Valentine’s Day hate. But you have to move on from that, and realize that there IS someone out there and you WILL find them, when the time is right. And, remember, just because maybe you’re not in a relationship, doesn’t mean you aren’t loved. Because you are; there’s always someone out there that loves you.

And besides, if you’re a nerd girl like me, you are bound to have some fictional crushes and whats better than a curling up with a book and falling in love with your favorite fictional character ALLLLLL over again :D

So I’m doing another top ten this week, forgoing the Book of the Week, in honor of Valentine’s Day.

Ever since I became a Mortal Instruments fan, I have to stop thinking of the evil guy, Valentine Morgenstern, every time I hear the word “Valentine”. Its so bad haha.

Moving on, my top ten Valentine’s Day crushes are:

Mr Darcy from Pride and Prejudice  

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This was one of the very few books I actually enjoyed in high school and probably because its a timeless story. Some people don’t get the love of this story and to them I say, DID YOU NOT READ THE SAME BOOK AS ME? I mean, sure, the story takes place in an era that barely exists anymore. I don’t need to make a debut and I don’t need to have my “season”. There aren’t appropriate matches for me and I don’t have to worry about not being rich enough for a man to marry me. But the messages that come across in this novel are still true: that we need to stop judging people right off the bat, that we need to let go of our pride and let go of our prejudices and see whats in front of us. Mr Darcy is one of  my biggest fictional crushes because of how you watch him fall in love with headstrong Elizabeth Bennett and how you watch him struggle with it…and when he finally comes to terms with it, and the lengths that he goes to make her happy, its just beautiful. Sigh. One of the most romantic books of all time.

9. Caroline Forbes from The Vampire Diaries

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Candice Accola is absolutely gorgeous. Its funny; when it comes to guys, I tend to go light hair, light eyes…I like me some white boys I guess haha. But with girls, I like dark hair, dark eyes so I was surprised to find myself with a HUGE crush on Miss Caroline Forbes from Vampire Diaries. She’s soooo gorgeous and she plays a vampire, and instead of sparkling or being so beautifully tormented, she’s NORMAL and SEXY. Its awesome. When she’s turned, she still stays so wonderfully normal and she genuinely cares about all her friends and when she loves, she loves fully. She’s brave and smart and committed to her family and friends and sometimes you even forget that she’s a vampire. She took what was handed to her, even though she didn’t want it, and she lives with it. She’s so much better than the brooding and tortured vampires of most vampire novels and shows and so she’s a breath of fresh air ot me…and a super hot one at that.

8. Percy Jackson from Percy Jackson and the Olympians and Heroes of Olympus

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Okay, I’m gonna make myself clear here: Percy is only hot at the end of the Olympians series and through the Heroes of Olympus series. Because he can’t be hot as an eleven year old because I would feel creepy as hell. And I know a lot of people were super disappointed in the first Percy Jackson movie. i do not think it was great but I don’t think it was THAT bad, either. And I think Logan Lerman makes a good Percy, a HOT one, even if he’s too old by the book standards. The picture above is awesome. And I want one of those shirts really badly. I think Percy becomes really brave and loyal as the books go along and if though its his fatal flaw, he’ll do anything for his friends, especially his girlfriend, Annabeth, and its so gosh darn cute, its hard to manage haha. That helps to guaranteed him a spot on this list.

7. Rhett Butler from Gone with the Wind

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Another one of the most romantic books of all time. Not this stupid Fifty Shades of Grey crap. Gone with the Wind…probably the MOST romantic book of all time. And of course Rhett Butler is the hero of the book. Charles Hamilton and Frank Kennedy are barely a blip on the radar and Ashley Wilkes…my god, Ashley Wilkes makes me alternately want to throw up and punch him in the face. Rhett Butler is a man’s man, he doesn’t give a damn what anyone thinks of him, not until he finds people to love enough to change. He loves Scarlett and he loves his daughter, Bonnie, enough to become a gentleman to take care of them. He loves Scarlett enough to put with her craziness, which not many men will do in this day and age, let alone during the Civil War/Reconstruction period. Plus he just exudes sexiness.

6. Han Alister from the Seven Realms series

Couldn’t find a picture for Han, nor a fan art that I liked enough to put up here on my blog. I adore Han Alister because of everything that he is and everything that he works so hard to be. He was a criminal for so long, the king of the criminals and he did some seriously terrible things. Then he gives up the crime life, and tries to get some honest work to feed and take care of his mother and little sister. And when they die and he learns of his wizarding heritage, he does everything he can to learn his skill and to please everyone: the tribes who feel like they own him, the wizards who want to control him, Raisa who he loves and can’t have, and on and on and on. He works so hard to do the right thing, and he works so hard to protect the people he cares about, especially Raisa. You have to admire his courage and his guts, his talents and his intelligence.

5. Isabelle Lightwood from the Mortal Instruments series

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I have a thing for the Lightwoods. One of them makes the number one spot on this list (I’m sure you totally know who it is). I also completely adore Alec Lightwood but you know, he’s gay so that doesn’t really work out in my favor haha. But Isabelle Lightwood has to make the list because she’s sexy as hell and she’s a badass. They say that even in the modern times of Shadowhunter that women HAVE to be trained to fight and if they aren’t, they’ll be relegated to jobs that keep them away from the action. Isabelle is trained to be a good Shadowhunter and she is a GREAT one, almost as good as Jace and probably better than her brother, Alec. She’s brave and she protects her family above anything. Her family loyalty to her parents, to her brothers (all three of them), is so admirable. I wish I had the bravery of Isabelle. Then there’s the fact that she fights all these demons in stilettos and sexy outfits doesn’t hurt in the slightest. I’m also really hoping that in City of Heavenly Fire, the last TMI installment, that her and Clary become parabatai. it would be SERIOUSLY awesome.

4. Sirius Black from the Harry Potter series

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I have no idea what it is about Sirius Black but he is one of my favorite characters in the entire Harry Potter universe besides Luna Lovegood and Ron Weasley. I love Luna for her uniqueness and I love Ron for his loyalty and his humor. But Sirius, I don’t know, that’s the man I have a crush on. I think its because he’s the bad boy, you know? But in a good way. Like, I’m not sitting here with a crush on Draco Malfoy (although, whew, Tom Felton is HOT). He was the hot bad boy when he was at school at Hogwarts and he’s sort of the same kind of guy when he grows up. He still has that casual arrogance, that cockiness that he used to have that is so sexy but he’s also extremely brave and intelligent and he’s a good father figure for Harry. I know that everyone agrees with that because he was cruel to Kreacher and he could be selfish at times but he was HUMAN. I think we like to put our favorite characters on pedestals but some of my favorite characters are the ones with the biggest flaws. Sirius Black…sexy man.

3. The Doctor from the Doctor Who series

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The Doctor is hot for one big reason: he can do something for women that no other man can do. He can take them anywhere in time and space, whenever, wherever. He can take them on the most amazing of adventures, he can take them to see the most amazing places. If the Doctor showed up on my doorstop, I’d be like, “Let me grab my books and let’s go!” Because, you know, I can’t live without my books! They keep the stories fresh and the characters fresh with new companions and new regenerations of the Doctor, each one of them uniquely awesome and uniquely sexy. I am also on a Doctor Who high because I’m going to Gallifrey One, the Who convention, this weekend and I am SO excited! The Doctor is awesome, smart, sarcastic, funny, god he’s even sexy when he gets angry. And he has a blue box that can go ANYWHERE. And he has a damn British accent! You just don’t get better than that.

Except the maybe the first two on this list…below…haha

2. Han Solo from Star Wars

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I have said it over and over again that this was my first nerd crush. I watched Star Wars when I was really young and I really started getting into it when I was about seven years old. My little brother had broken his leg when he was two (long crazy story haha) and he pretty much couldn’t do anything and the only thing he ever wanted to do is watch Star Wars. So we watched a ton of Star Wars, the original masterpieces that were on VHS. And this is where I met Han Solo. Mark Hamill as Luke was okay but I was already into that rugged, sarcastic man. Do i sense a pattern here? Yes, yes, I do. I like the sarcastic, humorous, bad buy who is really good kind of guy and that fits Han Solo perfectly. He has that bad boyness and the humor but he’s also sweet and he also cares and loves his friends. But he’s not mushy at the same time. And yet I still totally melt into a puddle every time he looks into Princess Leia’s eyes and says “I know”. SIgh. And now there are rumors of a stand alone Han Solo movie? Love it, as long as Harrison Ford doesn’t return. The man was SEXY as Han Solo and Indiana Jones but he’s a bit old to reprise that role…

1. Jace Wayland Morgenstern Herondale Lightwood from The Mortal Instruments series

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Surprise, surprise. This guy is going to be my number one for a very, very long time. You may notice that I picked a picture of Jace on the cover of the novel, City of Lost Souls. I love Jamie Campbell Bower and I think that he’ll do a great job as Jace. But because Jace Lightwood is my ultimate fictional crush, I have my own vision of him in my head and that’s exactly how I like him. Jamie will do a great job but he isn’t at all what I pictured. Moving on, Jace fits the pattern of sexy, sarcastic badass bad boys that make my list. I like the sarcastic ones and I like the ones that are fighters, but are mushy enough to be super romantic. Jace Lightwood is a badass Shadowhunter, the best one, in fact, and his fighting skills are unparalleled. But he’s also fiercely loyal to his adopted family, the Lightwoods (Maryse, Robert, Isabelle, Alec and Max) and he becomes so protective of Clary, and he loves her so much. And I can’t lie, he says some of the sweetest things. I can’t wait to read more of them when City of Heavenly Fire hits stands in 2014.

So there’s my list of Valentine’s Day crushes but my biggest Valentine’s Day crush is this guy right here:

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We just celebrated five years of being together on Monday and this will be our sixth Valentine’s Day together. Five years ago, Jon asked me to be his girlfriend on February 11th. He was my best friend and became so much more than that. He had told me he wanted to wait until Valentine’s Day so I could finally have a good V-Day (remember, dumped THREE times…) and that he couldn’t wait. so that’s why our anniversary is the 11th. We had our first Valentine’s Day three days later…where we spent all day together…sort of. Jon got really SUPER sick, like super high fever, upchucking kind of sick. And that’s why I spent our first Valentine’s Day taking care of him. But no matter who you throw my way, no matter how many times I have crushes on fictional characters, at the end of every single day, this is the only boy I need <3

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone :D I hope that it was good and that you remember, no matter what your relationship status, you are loved! You will always have people to love and if you’re reading this, there’s a damn good chance that I love you :) Spread the love. There should always be love in the world, family love, friendship love, romantic love.

And always remember, that these fictional characters we read, they’re awesome and lovable but they are just that: fictional. There are amazing people in this world to love, full of flaws and awesome. No one is perfect and no one is ever going to measure up to your favorite fictional man because he’s not real. They are never going to say the things that you read in the books but that’s okay. Because when you do find the right one, you’ll love them 100%, flaws and all.

<3 <3 <3 <3 <3